Rail disruption continues to be a real problem across the UK, with Wales trailing behind the rest of the UK. Recent data shows that Wales has the highest cancellation rate for trains in the UK, with 20 out of 25 worst performing stations.
West Wales is highlighted as one of the worst areas affected - in the last 12 weeks, 10% of trains headed for Pembroke Dock were cancelled, 13% of trains going to Haverfordwest and an alarming 17% of those headed for Fishguard and Goodwick were cancelled. Haverfordwest station ranks among the very worst for services, coming in at 2409th out of 2616 stations nationwide, with performance ranked on punctual departures and arrivals with no cancellations. The vast majority of these services were operated by Transport for Wales.
Given its rural geography, locals and tourists alike rely heavily on train travel to and from Pembrokeshire as a means of transport. But, often the trains are being cancelled with just a few minutes notice, with very little explanation and limited alternative travel options offered.
Mr Crabb has been an ardent campaigner for rail improvements in Pembrokeshire. Earlier this year he spoke out about the importance of retaining services west of Carmarthen following an increase in the number of trains terminating at Carmarthen rather than continuing through to Pembrokeshire destinations.
Transport for Wales (TfW), owned by Welsh Government, operates most of the local rail services across Wales. Mr Crabb has repeatedly called on Welsh Government Minsters and TfW to address this urgently, with the TfW Chief Executive recently appearing in front of his committee at Westminster to be questioned about the matter.
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb commented:
“I am regularly contacted by constituents and visitors about gruelling journeys they have been forced to make due to last minute and often ill-explained train delays and cancellations, with limited alternative routes offered. For many, car travel remains the only viable option. This is not good enough.”
“If we want Pembrokeshire to continue to be an attractive tourist destination then rail improvement and reliability must feature at the very top of the agenda”
“West Wales railway stations remain stuck at bottom of train performance league due to inaction from Welsh Government. There is an immediate need for Welsh Ministers to wake up and take ownership of this problem before it gets any worse.”